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The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Statement on the Conditions at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia

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ARLINGTON, VA – Media reports on conditions at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia paint a picture of neglect, mistreatment and abuse of migrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The facility houses immigrant detainees, along with inmates for Irwin County and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Most concerning are reports of women being subjected to unnecessary surgical procedures that have a lasting impact on their reproductive health. Four lawyers representing migrant women held at the detention center claim that their clients were subjected to unnecessary surgical procedures, including hysterectomies, by a doctor named in the complaint. These allegations are back up by a whistleblower report filed by a nurse at the detention center to the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

USCRI calls upon DHS to conduct a thorough investigation of these serious allegations and immediately remedy the problems outlined in the complaint.

Women migrants arriving at our southern border have risked their lives to escape the unfathomable terror of gang violence, domestic abuse, endemic poverty, and lawlessness. Their journey to the U.S. is fraught with physical danger and emotional trauma. The U.S. government’s current policy of locking up asylum seekers in detention centers endangers human lives and denies them their right to due process.

“As Americans, our tolerance for injustices against migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. has diminished us as a people. Our American exceptionalism is rooted in our long history of giving refuge to the oppressed and persecuted worldwide,” said Eskinder Negash, President and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees. “In return, immigrants have given back exponentially. The migrants showing up at our border are our neighbors and we need to treat them with respect and compassion. This is who we are.”